EDINBURGH, Scotland – U.S. Naval Forces Europe Band musicians performed in the first public showing of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo during the night of Aug. 3 outside Edinburgh castle.
“I am confident that our performance here will leave everyone wanting more,” said Musician 3rd Class Andrew Francisco, a saxophonist in the NAVEUR Band. “It’s an honor to serve our country as musical ambassadors in this show. It’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime event.”
Francisco said he is confident the people of Edinburgh will be so pleased with NAVEUR performance; they will invite the band back for the next tattoos.
The band’s director, and conductor for the shows, Navy Lt. David Latour has said during both the dress rehearsal and the first show the band received positive audience feedback.
“The movements during the show are designed to elicit response from the crowd,” Latour said. “As we played through our pieces and numbers, and the marching routines, the band is getting the crowd energized and giving us positive feedback in the applauses.”
Latour said the audience pool the NAVEUR band will reach throughout the tattoo will be roughly 240,000 live audience members and millions of viewers watching the band on television. He said the tattoo is a great venue for his band to perform and the tattoo staff ensures all the band’s needs are met.
“They take excellent care of the bands in providing what we need to do our best out there,” Latour said. “We’re not thinking about anything else during the show, the organizers have taken care of everything, and we can just go out and do our best to represent the United States.”
Latour said he hopes to see an increased focus on sending performers to the Edinburgh tattoo. He said using music as an international language, the tattoo strengthens bonds between the nations represented.
Musician Seaman Alexis Thompson, French horn player for the NAVEUR band, said the band is not just representing the Navy, but the country as a hole and showing that the U.S. Navy has wonderful professionals able to integrate well with other countries.
“It shows that people from all over the world can come together in harmony and create something so spectacular,” Thompson said. “It also shows there does not have to be so much hate in the world and that music can truly be the international language.”
Thompson said her favorite part of the show was having the opportunity to interact with the multinational performers at the tattoo and play together as one unified group in front of millions of people.
Francisco said he also views the Edinburgh tattoo is a great opportunity to shed a positive light on the U.S. military.
“The Royal Edinburgh Tattoo is a great opportunity for the United States to spread good will on a global scale,” Francisco said. “We are able to promote peace and community relations through the music. By having a U.S. Navy band perform at the most famous and esteemed tattoo shows the world how important it is to the U.S. to relate with other nations.”
The road to the first show involved heavy rehearsal days, some of which seemed to run from sun up to sun down. Thompson said the many hours of preparation and rehearsal are a fine price to pay for the chance to perform.
“Although it took us many hours of rehearsing, the second we walk out of the castle onto the field, with thousands of people watching, it becomes worth it,” Thompson said. “There is no greater feeling. It is truly an honor and I’m so excited to be in such a beautiful town with wonderful people performing music every night.”
Latour said the tattoo also provides a chance for international leaders to meet on a neutral setting and strengthen their bonds.
“Each nation has its own diplomats and high ranking officials coming to see their units perform,” Latour said. “This tattoo not only brings multinational bands together, but the high ranking officials from all the nations as well have a chance to meet and talk on a neutral ground.”
Latour said he is proud of the Sailors in the band and what they’ve accomplished over the week thus far.
“The Navy is out here representing the United States every day and doing a great job,” he said. “There were many days of long rehearsals and long days, but these Sailors have stepped up and are doing an outstanding job.”
Francisco said he hopes events such as the Edinburgh tattoo will place more focus on the work of military bands in promoting outreach in the community. He said he feels the work of the bands is essential for the United States.
“This band bleeds patriotism,” Francisco said. “I truly hope our performances in the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo will place a greater focus on the positive work military bands do around the world.”
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is considered one of the most popular and oldest military tattoos in Europe, with its highlight being a Massed Military Band combining several military bands from around the globe into one ensemble. This is the first year since the tattoo’s inception in 1950 that a U.S. Navy band is participating.